“Scare hell out of the American people”: a Tribute to Arthur Vandenberg

The front page of the Grand Rapids Press features an article about a new statue downtown honoring Arthur Vandenberg. Vandenberg, largely forgotten amongst the citizenry of Grand Rapids, was a Grand Rapids native and U.S. Senator during the 1930’s and 40’s. The GR Press article describes many of Vandenberg’s accomplishments, focusing particularly on his role in the creation of the United Nations. Surprisingly, (or perhaps not) one of Vandenberg’s most famous quotes was nowhere to be found in the article. Vandenberg was instrumental in formulating post World War II policy, particularly the implementation of the Cold War. In 1947, while the Truman administration was considering how to sell to the American public a policy of a permanent wartime economy coupled with aggressive interventions abroad. Senator Vandenberg told the President <em>”scare hell out of the American people.” This statement, in a nutshell, describes the general strategy that the government has used to justify U.S. militarism and imperialism over the last sixty years. Whether it be wildly inflated claims as to Soviet Military power, hysteria over communists taking over Grenada, or Saddam Hussein’s imaginary WMD’s, the U.S. government, regardless of whatever party happens to be in power at the time, has continuously used the specter of a foreign boogeyman to justify huge subsidies to corporate giants in the name of “defense” spending and military interventions to protect corporate profits.

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Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org